Les is a tricky man to sum up. 'Motivation and hair, both in abundance!' is what it says on LinkedIn, which is a pretty good short version. The longer one would probably mention more than 20 years of experience in publishing, marketing, sales, property investment and a host of other entrepreneurial activity. Blessed with a unique ability to cut to the chase, and a straightforward approach that gets things done; Les also lives inside strategy and figures the way a fish lives in the sea.
Much to the envy of his colleagues, Les divides his time between Harrogate and Chamonix. When he's not devoting his abundant energy to business matters, he can usually be found snowboarding, mountain biking, racing Ferraris or headbanging along to a disturbing selection of dubious glam metal throwbacks.
Gaye WrightOperations Director
Gaye is the walking definition of the term 'Lynchpin' – or as Google put it when we checked, A central cohesive source of support and stability. Her primary functions are finance, production, people, admin and – well, Operations; but there's pretty much nothing going on here that she's not involved in in one way or another. She also has the unenviable task of keeping a handle on the force of nature that is our Chairman Les.
Gaye's a rock-solid pair of hands whose capability and professionalism are matched only by her unbridled sense of humour, which is essential if anyone expects to stay sane doing her job.
Alex GrayCommercial Director
Alex is always on the lookout for new opportunities and exploring new growth strategies – both in terms of our own business and of course for the clients we work with. Alex joined us as a salesperson, but it soon became clear that he had a broad commercial perspective and business acumen that could be put to better use. He is relishing his role as commercial director: getting out into the market, finding new opportunities and building new client relationships – in short, driving the future growth of the company. Alex's background is in IT infrastructure for the financial sector, but he likes nothing more than new ideas, so if you have a proposition of any kind to discuss why not give him a call?
A big sports fan, Alex's loyalties lie in Leicester, on the rugby field (good) and equally on the football field (not so good). He's also an avid private investor with interests in metals, mining and property.
Laura PollardHead of Events
Laura heads up our events department, and is responsible for everything from marshalling 450 international lawyers around a luxury Singapore hotel and ensuring they have a successful 3-day conference, to choosing whether to start with the artichokes or the smoked salmon. With a background in events and radio, she brings a well-balanced mix of creativity, commercialism and good old-fashioned common sense to what can be a very demanding role.
Out of the office she's a French-speaking, chocolate-loving horsewoman whose gentle manner belies a steely survival instinct that gets her through some heavy physical challenges, including a triathlon, and perhaps the biggest of 'em all – motherhood!
Sophie DilleyHead of Publications
A long stint in scientific publishing gave Sophie the rigour needed to head up our publications team. With a fearsome eye for detail, encyclopaedic knowledge of proofreading esoterica and administrative powers that leave most mortals filled with awe, Sophie is also a versatile writer, perfectly at home producing copy on any subject we throw at her. She is involved in some way or other with every publication that passes through the creative department, whether in print, online or in the Appstore, and overseeing the production of our annual flagship publication The Apprenticeship Guide is a great outlet for all of her skills.
Away from the office, Sophie is gradually ticking off visits to parts of the world that make the rest of the department green with envy. The pics from Peru were particularly galling. The further she travels though, the longer her bucket list grows.
Paul BunceSales Manager
As sales manager, it's Paul's job to oversee the sales team, monitoring, motivating, setting targets, shooting trouble and generally providing the oxygen that keeps the heart of the company beating. His experience of sales and events, coupled with his energy and commitment to the cause, makes him the ideal candidate for the post, and the results he achieves speak for themselves.
One of several southern emigrés working at Barker Brooks, Paul brought with him a lifelong passion for Arsenal FC (much to our puzzlement).
Marek has been the editor of Claims Magazine and Leeds & Yorkshire Lawyer since July 2012. Before moving to Barker Brooks, he worked in London as a pensions journalist and editor for several years on a number of prestigious titles; he has also written for numerous other pensions and investment titles as a freelancer. Marek sat on the judging panel for the 2014 and 2015 headlinemoney.co.uk awards, which recognise excellence in financial services journalism.
Outside work Marek is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, which will presumably come in handy as he rears his children.
Christine GillCommercial Manager
Christine’s intellect and professional background made her an obvious choice when we were looking for someone to manage the accounts of a number of our most illustrious clients, including the Nuclear Institute and CFA UK. A history and politics graduate, Christine worked for a spell within the forensic accounts team at Deloitte and Touche before making the move to the commercial side of publishing, where she has sold multi-platform portfolios to clients in the UK, Europe and across the globe.
Christine has developed events such as industry-leader forums, one-day workshops and industry awards; she is a a member of the interactive advertising bureau and keeps abreast of industry changes.
David WarneMarketing Manager & Account Manager, Apprenticeship Guide
An award-winning sales and marketing professional, Dave has a diverse background across education, retail, software, media and financial services. He's excellent at building relationships, both internally and externally, and is always keen to explore new opportunities. More than anything, Dave always focuses on putting the client first and is currently supporting a large range of clients in their recruitment marketing campaigns, with a particular focus on apprenticeships.
Outside work Dave is a massive sports fan, whether that be in the armchair or on the sports field. He especially enjoys football, tennis and badminton and getting out on the road bike.
Compton SheldonHead of Design
With over 20 years of experience as a graphic designer, Compton is our ‘go to’ man when we need creative marketing and publishing solutions with high visual impact. Concept creation, branding and project management are second nature to him and whether he is working on a magazine, a promotional campaign, website or event display material, he prides himself on always maintaining a professional approach to time, costs and deadlines.
Compton’s italian lineage is never more evident than when it comes to his coffee-drinking habits. He has also expressed a particular fondness for roast turkey and we look forward to treating him to a generous spread when his next birthday comes around.
Helen has been with us for a long, long time and has done a lot of different things over the years – that's a testament to her versatility and many capabilities. As office manager (and former primary school prefect) she ruled us all with a rod of iron, a skill that transferred neatly when she added a role in credit control to her other duties. In the end though, after helping out at various functions we were managing, Helen realised that the glitter and glamour of our Events department was the place for her, and she's been helping Laura keep things running smoothly ever since.
Helen has read many of the best books that have ever been written, cooks like an angel, and wishes that Australia was at least 10,000 miles less far away.
Tom GrantAccount Manager, Medical
When we received Tom's application for a sales role at Barker Brooks, one look at his CV and covering letter told us he'd be a success. So we tried our best to throw him by interviewing him in the pub (wisely, he had an orange juice). He did a good job of appearing unfazed by the experience and answered even our weirdest questions with consistently thoughtful composure. Today he deploys his solid background and lively intellect across several projects, heading up sales across our portfolio of medical publications.
A devoted dad, Tom has somehow retained a lifelong loyalty to Leeds United. Both of those things can put years on you but he's still looking OK.
Matt GottingAccount Manager, Legal
Matt learnt his first lessons about sales and customer service while he was working for another events company here in Harrogate. His key accounts included MTV, the Brit Awards and the Glastonbury Festival, but he was happy to turn his back on the world of musical clients to come and work on our medical portfolio. Since joining, Matt's professionalism and work ethic have quickly landed him with more responsibility than he might have been expecting at this stage of his career.
When he's not managing clients at work Matt keeps in touch with his love of music by playing guitar and listening to some really questionable bands. He's a Liverpool fan, for his sins.
Sue is one of our longest-serving people, joining us back in 2005 after a successful career in retail management and human resources (and, somewhat unusually, a more recent period as a lollipop lady). Sue works part-time and is primarily responsible for managing our databases and distribution; she also oversees our Circuit Guides while finding a hundred other ways of being useful around the place.
Outside the office Sue's a busy mum who manages to fit in an impressive amount of volunteering, the girl guides being one of the main beneficiaries. She's also a member of a ladies' pub quiz team – she can sing along to all the music but claims never to know the answers…
Kate DanceMedical Editor
Honorary Yorkshire lass Kate moved Up North from Portsmouth to study at Leeds University – and in the blink of an eye, since graduating, she has clocked up more than 10 years’ experience working in the publishing industry, from small beginnings producing TV listings and drawing weather maps for newspapers to subbing for regional newspapers in York, Hull, Lincoln, Scunthorpe and Grimsby. Kate works across all of our medical titles.
When she’s not mopping up spilled milk or running after an energetic toddler, Kate can be found taking it all out on the badminton court, where she's a demon competitor in the York and Yorkshire leagues.
Laurence GrantEditorial Assistant
When we advertised our latest editorial assistant vacancy (‘no previous experience required’), Laurence seduced us with his charm and disarmingly honest approach to his job application. A very bright young thing, his excellent academic background and willingness to tackle whatever we throw at him with enthusiasm, stands him in good stead for a great career in the publishing industry. As well as learning the ropes on every aspect of the publishing process, Laurence is playing a fundamental role keeping our websites up to date and driving our social media campaigns forward.
An impressive list of previous character-building experiences includes time working as an au pair in Spain and a spell as a professional street fundraiser, where he employed some very effective persuasive tactics through games of rock, paper, scissors.
Victoria JohnsonNon-executive Director
Although Victoria has now left Barker Brooks for pastures new, she remains in close contact as a shareholder and sits on the board of directors. A highly experienced publishing and events salesperson with particular experience of the financial and high net worth worlds, Victoria embodies the focus on quality and professionalism which we bring to all our work.
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